I Can’t Write! What’s Wrong With Me? Answer: Nothing
We’ve all got libido. Writers have the usual kind, but we also have writing libido. That’s totally a thing. Google it!
Here’s how it works…or in this case, doesn’t:
Recently, my dog had eleven puppies. My teenage son announced he’s joined a movement of people who never wear shoes. We found purple water dripping into our basement; it took a whole day to find the leak, and another two days to clean up all the ruined boxes. We’re pretty sure the purple stuff isn’t toxic.
Turned out I handled it well. I dealt with everything as it came, knowing we’d get through it. But when my son cut his foot then stepped in dog dirt, I took my laptop along to the ER, anticipating a long but productive wait. I couldn’t do a thing! I couldn’t write at all! What is wrong with me?
Ok, most writing-libido killers are way less, shall we say, interesting than this? But we expect life to throw stuff at us. As writers, we’ve got some tolerance for dramatic irony. But if the writing process is challenging, then It’s my fault.
By saying that, we miss the obvious: Writing is isolating.
Functioning in proximity to others is so familiar that we don’t always feel the airlessness of the social-deprivation-chambers we work in. When we sit down to write, the universe skinnies down to a black hole: Here I am! Just me and the computer and…wait. Where’s the absinthe?
A writer needs community! If our ancient ancestors had all mumbled their campfire stories solo to the nearest rock, they would have given up on the other kind of libido and you and I wouldn’t be here. It’s not like they had Starbucks to jack up the motivation.
So please, people, not so hard on ourselves. Libido killers abound–as anyone married to someone who refuses to vacuum can attest. Remember: storytelling evolved in caves, around campfires, drawing people together in warm, safe groups. Telling stories was the EASY part because it brought cave people together.
If anything, our need for connection is greater. It’s not a matter of physical survival. But we don’t want our work to be read so we can be hot shit. Through our writing, we want to share precise, unique emotional qualities with readers. THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT.
It’s not always easy to find a supportive writing community. But it sure doesn’t help to blame ourselves for what’s written in our DNA.
How’s your writing libido? What struggles have you had? Let’s chat!